Communicating with clients during pet euthanasia


Dr Kathleen Cooney emphasizes the importance of listening before giving input to pet owners experiencing this hardship

At the 2023 American Veterinary Medical Association Convention, Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, CCFP, DACAW resident, CEO and director of education for the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, sat down with dvm360® to share effective communicate strategies when engaging in euthanasia work.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, CCFP, DACAW resident: The best way to communicate with pet parents during euthanasia is to slow down and to ask questions, to find out what they really want to share with you, to hear the emotions that they need to share. In fact, there's a wonderful saying that is "Seek first to understand, before you yourself can be understood." So, no matter how much you want to convey to your client, they have to be able to tell you more, they want to share what their motivations are for choosing something like euthanasia, or their concerns behind making that decision. So they need to be able to unload a lot of their emotions ahead of time. And you're just going to listen and process what those are, and then you will be better suited to respond to them and to interact with them. So slow down, take in that information. Try to remove that clinical feel and tone from euthanasia as much as you can. You're going to be a much better communicator, and it's going to be a much better euthanasia experience overall.

Dr Cooney will be delivering lectures at the upcoming Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri from August 25, 2023 to August 27, 2023. Register here today to lock in your spot! There will be a chance to earn 20 CE credit hours per individual attendee and more than 180 sessions will be featured covering an array of tracks, so there is something for everyone.

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